Why in Britain
Do we drive on the Left ?


About a quarter of the world drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies.
2passJapan also drive on the left.

This strange quirk perplexes the rest of the world; however, there is a perfectly good reason.

Up to the late 1700's, everybody travelled on the left side of the road because it's the sensible option for feudal, violent societies of mostly right-handed people.

Jousting knights with their lances under their right arm naturally passed on each other's right, and if you passed a stranger on the road you walked on the left to ensure that your protective sword arm was between yourself and him.

Revolutionary France, however, overturned this practice as part of its sweeping social rethink. A change was carried out all over continental Europe by Napoleon.The reason it changed under Napoleon was because he was left handed his armies had to march on the right so he could keep his sword arm between him and any opponent.

From then on, any part of the world which was at some time part of the British Empire was thus left hand and any part colonised by the French was right hand.

In America, the French colonised the southern states (Louisiana for instance) and the Canadian east coast (Quebec). The Dutch colonised New York (or New Amsterdam).
The Spanish and Portugese colonised the southern Americas. So The British were a minority in shaping the 'traffic'.

The drive-on-the-right policy was adopted by the USA, which was anxious to cast off all remaining links with its British colonial past.

Once America drove on the right, left-side driving was ultimately doomed.
If you wanted a good reliable vehicle, you bought American, for a period they only manufactured right-hand-drive cars.

From then on many countries changed out of necessity.

Today, the EC would like Britain to fall into line with the rest of Europe, but this is no longer possible. It would cost billions of pounds to change everything round.

The last European country to convert to driving on the right was Sweden in 1967. While everyone was getting used to the new system, they paid more attention and took more care, resulting in a reduction of the number of road accident casualties.

Since September 2009 Samoa drives on the left instead of the right.
The main reason for this is that they want to use right-hand-drive cars, for instance from Japan and New Zealand, which both drive on the left.

Countries that drive on the LEFT include:-

Anguilla
Antigua & Barbuda
Australia
Bahamas
Bangladesh
Barbados
Bermuda
Bhutan
Botswana
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Cyprus
Dominica
Eire-Ireland
England
Falkland Islands
Fiji
Grenada
Guyana
Hong Kong
India
Indonesia
Isle of Man
Jamaica
Japan
Kenya
Lesotho
Macau
Malawi
Malaysia
Malta
Mauritius
Montserrat
Mozambique
Namibia
Nepal
New Zealand
Northern Ireland
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Samoa
Seychelles
Scotland
Singapore
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka
St Kitts & Nevis
St. Helena
St. Lucia
Surinam
Swaziland
Tanzania
Thailand
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
Uganda
US Virgin Islands
Zambia
Zimbabwe
St. Vincent & Grenadines
Wales